Former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Luke Perry's NASCAR ties run deep. The Ohio born one time teen phenomenon went to his first NASCAR race at then Charlotte Motor Speedway when he was just a boy. He was hooked. Darlington Raceway is one of...
Former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Luke Perry's NASCAR ties run deep. The Ohio born one time teen phenomenon went to his first NASCAR race at then Charlotte Motor Speedway when he was just a boy.
He was hooked.
Darlington Raceway is one of just a handful of tracks where Perry has not seen a NASCAR event. He is here this weekend as a guest of Dodge meeting and greeting fans at the Dodge Viper Thrill Ride.
I took a hot lap with Perry in the new Dodge Charger and while 90210 jolted him into that weird bubble of super stardom, at his roots he's a small town boy that cut his teeth watching short track racing in his hometown.
"The first NASCAR track I went to was Charlotte," said Perry. "I was a boy, I remember going to small local tracks as a kid. Dirt track racing in Ohio is some of my earliest memories."
Perry's is excited to be able to check out the action at 'the lady in black' this weekend - and watch his buddies Stanton Barrett and Jeff Gordon compete. Perry met Barrett while working on "90210" - when character Dylan McKay took up motorcycle racing and Barrett served as his stunt- double.
Over the years, Perry has also forged a strong friendship with four time champion Jeff Gordon. But, he admits that his favorite driver while growing up was Bill Elliott.
"Darlington is one of the few tracks I haven't been too. I have always wanted to see the oval, wanted to see the minnow pond and all of that stuff. Jeff Gordon called me on the way in and said depending on how it goes here today; he and I might go to the 'Raceway Diner' later."
Watching Perry take seat time at the Viper Thrill Ride it is clear that he loves racing and is a true 'car guy'. Every squeal of the wheel brought an ear to ear smile to his face. With a new television show premiering this summer called 'Windfall" on NBC, Perry is hoping to reclaim some of the limelight so he can once again take his turn at feature films.
It was no secret that he would love to one day star in a racing themed movie.
"I was with Burt (Reynolds) a couple of days ago and we talked about some of his famous car movies. There are a few of his movies I would like to remake, but "Stroker Ace" is not one of them." When asked if "Smokey and the Bandit" might be on that short list, he grinned, "I think I could pull off that mustache."
It will be a bit of an adjustment for Perry to return to network television. His last series was the HBO prison drama "OZ" where Perry got to be nuts, naked and full throttle every episode of the controversial series.
"I am excited. It is exciting for me sometimes, and sometimes it seems like an awful lot of work. I wanted to take some time off and start a family and I did that and now it was time to get back out and make a little hay while the sun shines.
"It is difficult to work within the paradigm of network television. It is more restrictive and that is definitely the challenge. It is like restrictor plates on a car, you know they are only going to let the show go so far and do so much. You just have to maximize it within those guidelines. It's a fight and its exciting for me to try and figure that out."
Perry's series "Windfall" makes its debut June 8th on NBC.